It's hard to believe, but the golf season has run its course for another year. Doesn't the time go by much too fast? Still, there has been plenty of news.

On our first tee this month, we have to begin with Ellen Port: The 51-year-old standout amateur captured the 2012 USGA Senior Women's Amateur Championship, defeating Jane Fitzgerald of Kensington, Md.

Port, who teaches at John Burroughs School, takes her place among the most prolific USGA women's champions with names such as Joanne Carner, Glenna Collett-Vare and Mickey Wright.

USGA Senior Men  

St. Louis standout Jim Holtgrieve's run at the 2012 USGA Senior Amateur Championship ended in the second round of match play. Holtgrieve, 64, was the stroke-play medalist. He won his first-round match to lead a group of 32 players into the second round of match play at the par-71, 6,838-yard Mountain Ridge Country Club.

In the round of 32, Holtgrieve fell to Gerardo Ramirez of San Antonio, Texas, 2 & 1, with Ramirez rallying from three holes down. Holtgrieve, who posted the second-best stroke-play total in championship history with a 36-hole score of 136, became the latest of the top seeds to be eliminated. Ramirez won three consecutive holes – the 13th, 14th and 15th – to move from 2 down to 1 up. He wrapped up the upset with a conceded birdie on the par-5 17th, when Holtgrieve could not get up and down for par from a right greenside bunker.

Holtgrieve, a two-time USA Walker Cup captain, ran into trouble after making birdie on the par-4 10th for a 3-up lead. He bogeyed No. 11 and carded a double bogey on the par-4 13th after driving into the hazard. Holtgrieve's three-putt at the par-3 14th squared the match.

"That was a big mistake (at No. 11)," Holtgrieve later acknowledged. "I had 92 yards (to the hole) and hit it right. I didn't do my education enough and study the golf course. It's going to roll, catching the hill, and goes down to the (collection) area. I tried to putt it up and it came back to me. If I hit that sand wedge left of the hole, it would have been all different."

High School Girls Golf

Once again, the Missouri teams prevailed in the 12th annual River Challenge played at Clinton Hills Golf Course in Belleville, Ill. The Missouri teams shot a total of 1,061 to win by nine strokes. The victory squared the series at six for both sides of the river. Playing the event for Missouri were Incarnate Word Academy, Lafayette H.S., Nerinx Hall, St. Joseph's Academy, Ursuline Academy, Villa Duchesne and Westminster Christian Academy.

Winning the team title were the Westminster Christian Academy Wildcats, the defending Missouri Class 1 kingpins. Westminster shot a total of 329. That was a whopping 26 strokes better than Massac County. In addition, the Wildcats had the top three scores. Junior Jordan Wolf was the medalist with an even-par 71. Senior Brooke Cusumano, the defending state champion, was second with a 77. Senior Ciara Younger finished with an 82.

"We feel honored to help keep the River Challenge Trophy on the West side of the Mississippi again for the third year in a row,"Westminster coach Steve Bradley says. “We've had a great time in this tournament for the past several seasons."

USGA Men's State Team Championship  

Skip Berkmeyer of Wildwood led the Missouri team in the recent 2012 USGA Men's State Team Championship conducted at the par-71, 6,963-yard Galloway National Golf Club in New Jersey. Berkmeyer shot a 220 on rounds of 73, 73 and 74. The team finished with a 443. The other Missouri scores were Brad Nurski of St. Joseph, with a 223; and Nick Wilson of Columbia, with a 228. Wilson outdueled Berkmeyer to win the Missouri Amateur, the state's top championship earlier this summer.

Well, that wraps up another year for local golf. We hope to tee it up again real soon. See you next spring!


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